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Former British Army Chief Blasts Blair, Brown for Inadequate War Funding

Tom Rivers | London 05 September 2010

The former head of the British army has strongly criticized former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for letting British troops down in Iraq and Afghanistan by not adequately funding the two conflict efforts. Retired General Richard Dannatt makes the claim in his new book.

While Tony Blair is out promoting his new book, retired General Richard Dannatt has just published his own entitled Leading From the Front which is being serialized in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

The former British army chief says Mr. Blair lacked the moral courage to make his Chancellor, or Treasury Secretary, provide adequate funding to support the stretched fighting forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"If the prime minister, the head of government, has endorsed this defense policy and that is the way forward, it is up to the chancellor then to make sure it is fully funded," Dannatt said.

In General Dannatt's view, Tony Blair let the British troops down and his then Treasury Secretary or Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown also receives blame from the retired army chief.

"The defense review conducted in 1997 and 1998 was actually a good piece of policy work. It set a good framework for the future but the fundamental flaw in it was that it was never fully funded," said Dannatt. "And of course, Gordon Brown as Chancellor [of the Exchequer] was responsible for that not fully funding it."

The Sunday Telegraph also reports that in his book General Dannatt says the evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction - the official justification for Britain's involvement in the 2003 invasion - was "most uncompelling" and the planning for the aftermath of the war, an "abject failure."

In his recently-published memoir A Journey, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says he does not regret his decision to take Britain to war in Iraq, but did not foresee the nightmare that had unfolded there.



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